Traverse City Record-Eagle

Northern Living

August 5, 2012

Cheers and jeers for the Olympians

Whew! One week down, one to go.

At the halfway mark in the 2012 Summer Olympics, here's my take on the games so far.

-- Cheers to swimmer Missy Franklin for her ready smile, her joy in being at the games and her quickness to embrace teammates and competitors alike. She's a class act through and through.

-- Jeers to gymnast Danell Leyva for his towel-blankie, which he uses to hide under like a child whenever he wishes to disappear. Where's Harry Potter's invisibility cloak when you need it?

-- Jeers to Leyva's father and coach for his obnoxious presence on the floor, which surely must cause Leyva's teammates, USA coaches and spectators around the world to cringe. One or two episodes of head-kissing, ear-pulling, rhythmic clapping, anxious eyebrow-smoothing and whooping is cute; dozens is just irritating.

-- Cheers to Leyva's teammate John Orozco for overcoming tremendous adversity to make it to the games and for remaining stoic in the face of his mistakes and his failure to medal in team and all-around competition. And cheers to female gymnast Jordyn Wieber for swallowing her disappointment at not making the all-arounds to help propel the woman's team to a victory.

-- Cheers to swimmer Michael Phelps for becoming the most decorated Olympian in history, and for shaking off the constant comparisons to his performance in the 2008 games. The Olympics are like life: You're not always going to come out on top, no matter how good you are.

-- Cheers to French tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for daring to be different with his startlingly red shoes in a sport that has, until recently, emphasized "predominantly white" (thanks, Wimbledon, for finally paving the way).

-- Jeers to Canadian swimmer Brent Hayden for daring to be different with his shaved head and scary-looking tattoos, even if two are just a maple leaf and the Olympic rings.

-- Jeers to swimmer Ryan Lochte for his cocky "it's my time" line, his it's-nothing-if-it's-not-gold mentality, and his sulking after failing to live up to his own hype. And cheers to swimmer Ryan Lochte for admitting that his attitude of the first few days needed adjusting and then for adjusting it.

-- Jeers to the eight women badminton players from South Korea, China and Indonesia who threw matches in doubles competition to create a favorable draw. Maximum athletic effort is an Olympic standard and they deserved to be sent home.

-- And finally, jeers to the International Olympic Committee for choosing the same week for the games as the Traverse City Film Festival. They couldn't have checked with Michael Moore first?

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